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Matted LIC caters to artists

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In a neighborhood so well-known for its artistic community, what better place to open up a framing store?

Such could have been the reasoning behind Matted LIC, the new shop opened up by owner Donna Drimer at 46-36 Vernon Blvd., but other factors were at play.

Drimer was looking for a new home at the request of her children, who wanted her to move out of the East Village and buy a house. The domicile search is still on, but Drimer has definitely found a spot in the neighborhood.

“We came here to move and fell in love with the space,” she said. “The people are incredibly friendly. It has a small town feel and a SoHo or East Village look,” she said.

Drimer, who spent time as the manager of a framing department at Sam Flax in Manhattan, has been working for 24 years at Frame Art Gallery in Fresh Meadows. That business, which her mother purchased 37 years ago, also just moved to a new location: 190-17 Union Tnpk.

So what’s the big difference between framing art in Fresh Meadows and Long Island City?

“I have double the amount of male clientele,” she said of her new store, noting as much as 70 percent of her customers have a Y chromosome. She chalked it up to Long Island City’s commercial and industrial districts.

Drimer started talking to the building’s owner in February and the shop had what she called a “very soft opening” in May.

Getting the space in shop-shape did not take much work because it had previously been used as a condominium showroom, Drimer said.

Along with framing, it offers art conservation services, ready-made frames and personal and home accessories.

“We say ‘eclectic gifts,’” Drimer said, noting much of her merchandise is made in the United States.

So if Drimer is working with the reputation of a long-lived borough business behind her, why not also call the new shop “Frame Art Gallery”?

“It didn’t have the right feel for this neighborhood,” Drimer said, noting the local merchants association responded much more positively to the new name during initial discussions. “This captures the imagination of Generation X.”

But while Drimer is certainly careful in shaping the image of her business, her real joy is helping to reshape her customers’ interior decor.

“Every day I see something different,” she said, noting that during the third week of August, she framed a children’s doll, a black and white photo of people riding the subway shot by a local artist, two children’s collages and two original Reginald Marsh etchings. “It’s like the gamut.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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